Chapter 13:

With a Love Sorceress, I’ll Realize Mia is Mia

With a Love Sorceress I'll Make My Romance Last!

My instinct was to object. I wanted to tell Mia she was the luckiest girl in the world. I wanted to to tell her that fate was wrong, and I could make everything better. Everything would be alright.

But I knew saying such things would only push her away. I would deny her truth. I’d miss her, again.

So I bit down on my tongue as hard as I could.

And I listened.

“Not long after I was born,” Mia began, “my mother fell sick with a terrible fever. You can probably guess since she’s not here, that...well...”

I gave her a nod, letting Mia know it was alright to move on if she didn’t want to say it.

“I was so young I barely remember,” Mia continued, “but it was just me and my father after that. He worked hard to take care of me on his own. We moved from place to place — wherever my father could get work. We were never all that well-off, but we managed.”

She held a small smile at the memory.

“The ‘Faralind’ name used to be known as one of the greatest families around. My grandparents owned all this land, all these orchards,” Mia gestured to the lake and fields beyond. “My uncle was a scholar, studying to better raise crops. He was going to be granted the title of Earl for his contributions to the Kingdom. That’s why my father never asked for help. My dad didn’t want to bring down the family’s reputation.”

Mia’s expression fell.

“But a fire broke out in my uncle’s home. It was in the middle of a storm — just a lightning strike that should have been put out by the rain. But the rain stopped too soon, and the fire kept going. Almost like a curse.” Mia’s voice lowered. “After losing him, my aunt and cousins moved away. My grandparents went with them, but fell ill not soon after. When they passed, my dad inherited the family household.”

“It was difficult,” Mia sighed, “trying to take over all these barns and orchards, just me and my dad alone. We hired a few helpers at first, but no matter what we did, in the last few weeks before harvest, all the fruit on the trees withered. Every year. Again: almost like a curse.”

She held onto the edges of her dress, looking me down with a hardened gaze.

“I’m not telling you this for your pity,” Mia affirmed. “I was a child when most of this happened. I feel sad, of course, but it’s my father that’s suffered the most. The rumors like to say that my father started the fire so he could inherit the land. They say the orchards are haunted by my uncle, and that’s why the fruit goes bad.”

I gasped, shocked. “That’s horrible!”

“I know,” Mia mumbled in response. “But at least the people here in Rivasvale know me and my dad. They know we’re good people. It’s mostly the surrounding regions that like to tell the tale. It’s the kind of thing people like to gossip about, you know? That’s why when they heard about an elf visiting us, the rumors started all over again.”

I gripped my fist, trying to contain my anger. I felt this overwhelming frustration that Mia had been treated this way. And then I felt this...other sort of emptiness that I couldn’t name. It was a strange sense of loss; a disconnect from the moment.

I looked at the girl in front of me, and for the first time I think I truly realized:

She wasn’t Amamiya.

This wasn’t Amamiya’s past. This wasn’t Amamiya’s family. This wasn’t how Amamiya spoke.

I’d been running after Mia as though I could somehow win my girlfriend back. I’d been chasing after Amamiya’s shadow, clinging to the hope of being with her again. Part of me still didn’t believe we’d really broken up. That’s why, even if I thought it was a dream, I’d still stupidly proposed to Mia right when I met her.

I didn’t want to lose Amamiya’s family. I didn’t want to lose her smile. I didn’t want to let Amamiya go.

I looked at Mia and realized:

My relationship with Amamiya was already gone.

“Mister Roki? Was my story that sad?” Mia asked, fretful.

I brought my hand to my cheek. I was crying. When had I started crying?

“It is sad,” I mumbled, “and it reminds me of something I’ve also lost.”

I turned away briefly to wipe my face. I was thinking about myself again, while I was supposed to be listening to Mia’s story.

With my back to her, I concentrated my thoughts and made the book of Mia’s Language appear in front of me. I held my hand up to the floating pages and traced letters in the air. Slowly, I added my own entry.

Mia is Mia.’ I wrote.

With that, I closed the ethereal book and it puffed away into nothingness. It would take awhile, since Mia and Amamiya looked so similar — but I’d consider them separate people. Mia deserved that much.

I glanced towards her, and saw that Mia was struggling to hold back tears.

“I’m glad you brought me out here,” I chuckled. “Else I’d have to cry over those lovely vegetables your father tried to cook.”

Mia spluttered in surprise, finally a brightness coming to her face. “I told him not to cook something he didn’t know how to make! They were so bland!” She let the laughter cover up her tears, as she brushed at her eyes.

Under the moonlight, we stood in that hay-filled barn, both of us trying to overcome our sadness in our own way. Though our words couldn’t change the truth of the situation, at least we could share our sorrows together. Eventually, Mia grinned.

“As for my family’s so-called curse,” Mia said with a growing strength in her voice, “I have a plan.”

I raised my head, seeing the conviction in her blue eyes. It was an expression I’d never seen on her before — not here in Farelle, nor on Earth.

“Rivasvale is a small village,” she explained, “but we hold the Painted Moon Festival. It celebrates the summer harvest, and the nearby farmers all bring their best crops as tribute. My father and I have never been able to bring anything, since it always dies away. That’s why the rumor about the curse keeps going.”

“But this year,” Mia gripped her chest, “things will be different. We still have a few weeks before the festival. If we can make it through and leave a tribute, then no one will say we’re cursed anymore.”

Hearing the conviction in her voice brought such a warmth to my chest. I was so happy for her.

“Is there any way I can help?” I asked. “Would it be better if I left? If my presence is only making the rumors worse…”

But Mia shook her head. “I don’t want you to leave,” she whispered. “Going on a date with you made me feel, for the first time, like my luck had started to change. Maybe I could fight fate. I know you have your reasons for being here, Roki, and you need to keep them a secret — but I thought maybe this was what brought us together.”

She looked at me with those blue eyes, and I felt my heart leap.

“You can commune with the trees, right?” She stared at me so trustingly. “If you can do that, then maybe you can find out what’s causing our trees to wither.”

I froze.


Never did I think my really dumb excuse would come back to bite me this way.

“About that…”


Using the golden handle on my cottage door, I pulled open the portal I knew would lead towards Madam Claire’s hut.

“Madam Claire!” I shouted, bursting into the room. “Tell me everything there is to know about the Painted Moon Festival and communing with trees!”

The Love Sorceress raised a surprised eyebrow. “Communing with trees? Seriously?”

I nodded without hesitation.